By: Ava Alderman? I often hear from people who can’t help but examine the hairs that they are shedding when they believe that they have telogen effluvium (which is commonly referred to as TE.) Not only do many people count the hairs, but many look very closely at the length and also at the ends to see if they have any bulbs or markings. They often have questions about what they are saying. I heard from someone who said: “I’ve been noticing that lately, most of the hairs that I am shedding are very short. Much have blunt ends. Why could this be happening? Does this mean the hair that I am regrowing can’t be maintained?” I will try to answer these questions in the following article.
Shedding Short Hairs Can Mean That You’re Still Cycling Through Different Hair Cycles Of Growth And Regrowth: Many people assume that once their TE is ending or is over, they will just pick up with normal hair cycles and are able to resume their previously healthy hair schedule. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. Some people go through a few cycles until their hair growth cycles resume to “normal.” What this means is that your hair is still shedding while you are also regrowing. Your body or scalp doesn’t distinguish between long or shot hair. It just continues to shed. And if you’ve gone through TE, you will often have a good deal of short hair growing in.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that your regrowth will never take hold. Sometimes, it just takes a few more cycles. Or, the trigger that started the shedding in the first place needs to be eliminated. Ask yourself where you are in the shedding. Has it been only a few weeks? A few months? Shedding short hairs is more common in chronic telogen effluvium (shedding that lasts for six months or longer) because it takes a few months before you start to see regrowth and a few more for it to obtain some length. So by the time you see short hairs falling out, more than a few months from the beginning of this process has likely passed. If it’s been more than several months, then it might be time to see if something else is at play.
The Possibility Of Continuing Triggers Or Androgenetic Alopecia: Sometimes, the shedding just continues to go on and you’ve seen several cycles of short hairs continuing to fall out. At that point, if you’re still confident that you’re looking at telogen effluvium, you may want to look the possibility of continuing or multiple triggers. Sometimes, what caused the original shedding is over but something else has triggered a new one. Or, other times there is a continuing trigger like a medical issue or a medication that doesn’t agree with you.
The last thing to consider is that you might be looking at androgen driven loss. It is possible for the loss to start off as telogen effluvium and then turn into something else like androgentic alopecia (which is often referred to AGA.) It’s not unheard of for androgenetic alopecia to be thought to be telogen effluvium initially. And, shedding short hairs with AGA is common because people with this condition have a hard time supporting healthy regrowth. It can help to look at the quality of the shed hairs. Are they miniaturized? (This means do they look thin and whisky, like peach fuzz.)
The good news is that either of these cases can be addressed by supporting healthy regrowth, minimizing inflammation, and addressing any androgens. But to answer the question posed, it can be normal to shed short hairs with telogen effluvium. But if the hairs are miniaturized or if this process goes on for too long, you might want to see if there is something else at play that can be addressed.
I panicked when I saw a bunch of short hairs coming out. I assumed that this meant that I had androgenic alopecia. Looking back now, I still believe that I had chronic telogen effluvium. I suspect this because over time, the loss of short hairs improved dramatically. Once I addressed my triggers, I started seeing normal length hair growing in again. But, it was a long, hard, frustrating journey, especially in the beginning. If it helps, you can read the whole story on my blog at http://stop-hair-loss-in-women.com/